Google releases November 2018 Android Security Bulletin and Google Device Images

Google has released the November 2018 Android Security Bulletin, giving carriers and device makers a fresh set of patches to install.

The November bulletin contains fixes for three remote code execution flaws as well as a number of information disclosure and elevation of privilege vulnerabilities in various core components of Android.

The three RCEs, two rated “critical” risks (CVE-2018-9527, CVE-2018-9531) and one rated “high” (CVE-2018-9521), were all found within the Android media framework. If exploited by, say, a booby-trapped video or received multimedia message, malicious code within the material could be executed with sufficient privileges to spy on the phone’s owner and cause other mischief. Two elevation of privilege bugs (CVE-2018-9536, CVE-2018-9537) in the media framework were also classified as critical security risks.

The Android system component was the subject of six CVE bug entries, each for information disclosure flaws that, if successfully exploited, would give a remote attacker the ability to view user data that would normally only be visible to local apps.

Perhaps the most impressive part of the patch is the section outlining the 18 different CVE-listed security vulnerabilities that were reported in the Libxaac media library. In fact, Google said that it would be essentially booting Libxaac from Android going forward, changing its status to “experimental” and leaving it out of any future production builds of Android.

Beyond the basic Google patch level (2018-11-01) release, that fixes bugs in the core components of Android, the bundle also address another 17 CVE-listed vulnerabilities in various Qualcomm components used in Android phones.

The details of those vulnerabilities was not listed, as Qualcomm prefers to describe the flaws in its own security documents. Google does, however, note that three of the bugs (CVE-2017-18317, CVE-2018-5912, CVE-2018-11264) have been classified as “critical” security risks.

Though Google puts out the Android security patches each month, the job of actually getting the fixes to end users falls on the telcos and/or device manufacturers themselves. Those partners vary in their ability to release the patches in a timely fashion

The November bulletin has two security patch levels to provide Android partners with the flexibility to more quickly fix a subset of vulnerabilities that are similar across all Android devices.

  • 2018-11-01: Partial security patch level string. This security patch level string indicates that all issues associated with 2018-11-01 (and all previous security patch level strings) are addressed.
  • 2018-11-05: Complete security patch level string. This security patch level address all issues associated with the 2018-11-05 security patch level and all previous patch levels.

The most severe vulnerability in this section could enable a proximate attacker using a specially crafted file to execute arbitrary code within the context of a privileged process. The severity assessment is based on the effect that exploiting the vulnerability would possibly have on an affected device, assuming the platform and service mitigation’s are turned off for development purposes or if successfully bypassed.

Alongside the bulletin, Google have released a security update to Google devices through an over-the-air (OTA) update. The Google device firmware images have also been released to the Google Developer site. Security patch levels of November 5, 2018 or later address all of these issues.

The tables below contains a list of security vulnerabilities, the Common Vulnerability and Exposures ID (CVE), the assessed severity, and whether or not Google devices are affected. The severity assessment is based on the effect that exploiting the vulnerability would possibly have on an affected device, assuming the platform and service mitigations are disabled for development purposes or if successfully bypassed.

Android and Google Service Mitigation’s

This is a summary of the mitigation’s provided by the Android security platform and service protections such as Google Play Protect. These capabilities reduce the likelihood that security vulnerabilities could be successfully exploited on Android.

  • Exploitation for many issues on Android is made more difficult by enhancements in newer versions of the Android platform. All users are encouraged to update to the latest version of Android where possible.
  • The Android security team actively monitors for abuse through Google Play Protect and warns users about Potentially Harmful Applications. Google Play Protect is enabled by default on devices with Google Mobile Services, and is especially important for users who install apps from outside of Google Play.

2018-11-01 security patch level—Vulnerability details

Framework

The most severe vulnerability in this section could enable a local malicious application to execute arbitrary code within the context of a privileged process.

CVE References Type Severity Updated AOSP versions
CVE-2018-9522 A-112550251 EoP High 9
CVE-2018-9524 A-34170870 EoP High 7.0, 7.1.1, 7.1.2, 8.0, 8.1
CVE-2018-9525 A-111330641 EoP High 9

Media framework

The most severe vulnerability in this section could enable a remote attacker using a specially crafted file to execute arbitrary code within the context of a privileged process.

CVE References Type Severity Updated AOSP versions
CVE-2018-9527 A-112159345 RCE Critical 7.0, 7.1.1, 7.1.2, 8.0, 8.1, 9
CVE-2018-9531 A-112661641 RCE Critical 9
CVE-2018-9536 A-112662184 EoP Critical 9
CVE-2018-9537 A-112891564 EoP Critical 9
CVE-2018-9521 A-111874331 RCE High 9
CVE-2018-9539 A-113027383 EoP High 8.0, 8.1, 9

System

The most severe vulnerability in this section could enable a remote attacker to access data normally accessible only to locally installed applications with permissions.

CVE References Type Severity Updated AOSP versions
CVE-2018-9540 A-111450417 ID High 7.0, 7.1.1, 7.1.2, 8.0, 8.1, 9
CVE-2018-9542 A-111896861 ID High 7.0, 7.1.1, 7.1.2, 8.0, 8.1, 9
CVE-2018-9543 A-112868088 ID High 9
CVE-2018-9544 A-113037220 ID High 9
CVE-2018-9545 A-113111784 ID High 9
CVE-2018-9541 A-111450531 ID Moderate 9
ID High 7.0, 7.1.1, 7.1.2, 8.0, 8.1

Update: Media framework

CVE References Type Severity Updated AOSP versions
CVE-2018-9347 A-68664359 DoS Moderate 7.0, 7.1.1, 7.1.2, 8.0, 8.1, 9

Update: System

CVE References Type Severity Updated AOSP versions
CVE-2018-9457 A-72872376 EoP Moderate 8.0, 8.1, 9

2018-11-05 security patch level—Vulnerability details

Framework

The most severe vulnerability in this section could enable a local malicious application to execute arbitrary code within the context of a privileged process.

CVE References Type Severity Updated AOSP versions
CVE-2018-9523 A-112859604 EoP High 7.0, 7.1.1, 7.1.2, 8.0, 8.1, 9
CVE-2018-9526 A-112159033 ID High 9

Qualcomm components

The most severe vulnerability in this section could enable a local malicious application to execute arbitrary code within the context of a privileged process.

CVE References Type Severity Component
CVE-2017-15818 A-68992408
QC-CR#2078580
N/A High EcoSystem
CVE-2018-11995 A-71501677
QC-CR#2129639
N/A High Bootloader
CVE-2018-11905 A-112277889
QC-CR#2090797
N/A High DSP_Services

Qualcomm closed-source components

These vulnerabilities affect Qualcomm components and are described in further detail in the appropriate Qualcomm AMSS security bulletin or security alert. The severity assessment of these issues is provided directly by Qualcomm.

CVE References Type Severity Component
CVE-2017-18317 A-78244877 N/A Critical Closed-source component
CVE-2018-5912 A-79420111 N/A Critical Closed-source component
CVE-2018-11264 A-109677962 N/A Critical Closed-source component
CVE-2016-10502 A-68326808 N/A High Closed-source component
CVE-2017-18316 A-78240714 N/A High Closed-source component
CVE-2017-18318 A-78240675 N/A High Closed-source component
CVE-2017-18315 A-78241957 N/A High Closed-source component
CVE-2018-11994 A-72950294 N/A High Closed-source component
CVE-2018-11996 A-74235967 N/A High Closed-source component
CVE-2018-5870 A-77484722 N/A High Closed-source component
CVE-2018-5877 A-77484786 N/A High Closed-source component
CVE-2018-5916 A-79420492 N/A High Closed-source component
CVE-2018-5917 A-79420096 N/A High Closed-source component
CVE-2018-11269 A-109678529 N/A High Closed-source component

 

Full details of the November 2018 Android Security Bulletin are available here.

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